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Family

NYE 2016

Date: Evening of December 31, 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Event: New Year’s Eve

baba and alpha
Baba and Alpha, watching the carousel

We rang in the New Year in traditional style: a night out in Boston.  This year we had the very good fortune to be joined by Baba (Meghan’s mother, the girls’ grandmother).

Most years we take a train into the city to avoid issues with ‘amateur night’ drivers, but not this year. Being a Saturday, the commuter rail only runs a limited schedule; there are extra trains but not until later in the evening.

We reserved parking right next to the Commons (Parking Panda to the rescue!) but planned to start the night at Quincy Market.  I dropped the rest of the family off there and ran downtown to park the car.  I made the short walk back to meet with everyone again in about fifteen minutes.

The Black RoseWe shopped a bit before getting an excellent early dinner at The Black Rose.  We’ve been there several times; despite it’s location right next to Quincy Market it doesn’t have the air of a tourist trap.  It does have excellent Guinness on tap, though!

Let me back up a few days before I present the next photo: both girls have had braces on their teeth for a long while, until this past week.  Beta will be getting a second round when she gets a little older, but for now they both have brilliant smiles.

Alpha Mom and Beta
Alpha, Mom, and Beta, dinner at the Black Rose in Boston

Dinner was followed by a little more window-shopping, a brief stop for Blink, the Greenway Carousel, and dessert in the market.

We walked from Quincy Market to Boston Common, about a mile.  We stopped for hot chocolate and hot apple cider across the street at The Thinking Cup Cafe.  Both were very good.

Finally, at 7 pm: fireworks.

fireworks
NYE 2016 Fireworks – my phone’s camera cannot do them justice, but they were right over our heads

After the fireworks, our decision to park across the street paid off.  We picked up the car and made it out of the city before the rest of the traffic.

Baba slept over our house to avoid amateur night traffic, rain – the threat of rain made good shortly after we got home – and for a promise of waffles in the morning.  Meghan and her mom stayed up to watch a show, Hinterland, but everyone was asleep well before midnight.

Categories
Family Local Events

NYE 2015

Meghan and Quinn
Quincy Market. The girls wanted nothing to do with this selfie.

Another year, another amazing fireworks show on Boston Common!

The weather has been abnormally warm this year.  Christmas day was in the 60’s, and NYE was in the upper 40’s during the day.  The fireworks, held at 7 pm, were not uncomfortably cool.

Being a tradition, we like to make an evening of it.  We took the train in, arriving at North Station and walking around the city.  Even though we have a train station in town, the parking sucks and the fares are higher so we head down the road to Anderson RTC in Woburn.  The MBTA makes outbound trips free on NYE after 8 pm, so it’s even cheaper to take the train (and just as convenient).

Beta child on the carousel
The carousel doesn’t have any horses, but it does have squirrels, owls, and a sea turtle

On the greenway in front of Quincy Market there is a carousel.  December 31 is the last day of the season, so the kids like to get in one last ride.  This year we arrived after dark so all the lights were on.

After the carousel, we headed across the street to Quincy Market.  The Christmas tree was still lit and the holiday show, Blink!, was still running.  It’s just a small light show and music that plays a few times an hour, but it’s a nice touch.

Dad and beta
Dad and Beta making bad faces for the selfie

We got dinner at the kiosks in Quincy Market.  It was nothing to write home about except this year there was a teenage guy playing rock hits on his guitar in the central seating area that Alpha was quite taken with.  Meghan gave her some money to throw in his guitar case.  It was all very cute.

We got some dessert and hot chocolate on our way out, and ate it on the way.  The kids got cannoli, which weren’t quite as good as what’s available in the North End but seemed to be pretty good regardless.  Meghan and I shared a slice of German Chocolate cake.

Alpha and Dad
Heading home, and all smiles!

With the weather being so nice a lot of people turned out this year, and the hill overlooking the baseball diamond was downright crowded.

A funny thing about these fireworks: they always seem to have more than one climax.  We always have to wait for a few moments to make sure they’re really done this time, before heading out.  We caught a train from North Station before 8:30, had the girls in bed before 10.  No, we didn’t stay up until midnight either.

Everybody
Everybody!
Categories
Family

New Year’s 2014

xmas tree
The Christmas tree at Quincy Market, December 2014

We have established some new family traditions around Christmas and New Years:

  • a family night out to Quincy Market to see the Christmas tree and have some dinner;
  • the early-evening fireworks on Boston Common for New Year’s Eve.

These are real, official traditions – we’ve done them for at least two years in a row.

The night at Quincy Market isn’t fancy: a casual stroll around the touristy section of Boston, with some overpriced dinner and maybe some trinkets from the various and sundry vendors.  A ride on the carousel, before it closes for the year, is mandatory.

selfie, Dad and Alpha child
My beard makes me look like sasquatch

Along with the Christmas tree there is a light show called ‘Blink,’ which plays every hour or so.  Music by the Boston Pops is piped in over the loudspeakers.


We chose to stay home for Christmas Day, rather than travelling to Connecticut to join our folks.  That is a tradition I can get behind – so much less stress than driving around all day.

We didn’t plan much for the day.  We held open the possibility of going to the cinema, but the girls wanted to stay home and watch a movie we got for Christmas (Guardians of the Galaxy).  Having a low-stress holiday is refreshing, so unlike the holidays of my childhood.

My folks weren’t thrilled with not seeing us – my father is very resistant to change, and he’s accustomed to hosting the entire family – but we had Christmas Part II on the following Sunday, which was actually pretty fun.


starburst
A pair of starbursts over Boston Common, New Year’s Eve 2014

This year Baba (the kids’ name for their grandmother) joined us for the fireworks.  We took the train in, ate dinner in the city, and walked to the Common with hot chocolate in hand.

The weather was cold but the sky was clear.  The show ran a little long, about 15 minutes, but the kids were thrilled and we all forgot about the cold for a bit.